Our college ichthyology course kicked off this week with a trawling trip in Queens Sound, and has more exciting excursions lined up to catch and identify a variety of fish. Taught by Dr. Steve Seiler, biology professor at Lock Haven University, Seiler is back at the Field Station for his fifth year teaching the course.
“I take this class as a chance to try and catch as many different kinds of fish as possible,” Seiler said, adding that the Chincoteague Bay area is ideal for diversity in fish species because of saltwater and freshwater habitats.
The ichthyology course consists of catching different fish using a variety of field methods such as trawling, longlining, and electrofishing. Students will document and photograph their finds, identify them and take some specimens back to the lab for dissection.
Kirsten, junior biology major at Lock Haven University, said she especially looks forward to longlining because she wants to specialize in sharks and deep sea research in her future career. While longlining, the students will be tagging their catches for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Victor, junior marine biology major at East Stroudsburg University, said he is most excited for electrofishing. “It looks like a stick, you put it in the water and it sends electricity out that attracts fish and then you catch them with a net,” Victor explained. Victor said his favorite trawling catch of the day were the clearnose skates, which will be dissected in the lab.
Dr. Seiler said he hopes this course helps students see and understand how many different species of fish there are. “We know of about 25,000 species [of fish],” Seiler said, “One year we caught about 60 different kinds and we had to work really hard for that,” he said.
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